Drifting in Need for Speed: Shift

While critical reception for the Need for Speed series has certainly fluctuated over the years, EA's long-running racing franchise has managed to excel in one area time and time again: the ability to keep people guessing about what the next game will offer. Need for Speed: Shift is the latest in...

While critical reception for the Need for Speed series has certainly fluctuated over the years, EA's long-running racing franchise has managed to excel in one area time and time again: the ability to keep people guessing about what the next game will offer. Need for Speed: Shift is the latest in the series to keep fans on their toes, foregoing the heavy narration and exaggerated physics of last year's Undercover in favor of realism, realism, and more realism. But even as the series moves from police barricades to clean takeovers, time trials and circuit races aren't the only thing you'll see in Shift. Yesterday, EA dropped by the GameSpot office to show--among other things--the new drifting events.

Drifting appeared in Need for Speed as recently as 2007's ProStreet, so this particular racing discipline is hardly new to the series. But along with a new development team in Slightly Mad Studios, Shift uses an entirely new physics engine, so the way cars feel and handle as you glide through these prolonged curves is an altogether different experience from drifting in previous games.

The way it all works is fairly simple. Certain location in the game, be it Silverstone Circuit or the streets of London, offer a number drifting-specific layouts that feature a handful of wide curves on a point-to-point course. As you approach these curves, you jam on the handbrake button and watch as your rear-wheel drive car tails to the side, and from there it's a delicate balance of counter-steering and light breaking or accelerating in order to keep your vehicle skidding sideways while maintaining momentum. Down the line, more technically advanced courses add straight-aways filled with obstacles like hay bales to negotiate with.

You're ultimately judged by a combination of how quickly you complete the course and how much drifting you actually do. On the track you'll see the usual green line that lets you know the ideal path to take through a corner, plus a much thicker, drift-specific line that acts as a sort of scoring zone to tell you where you'll need to stay in order to achieve maximum points. The physics during these events have also been tuned to allow for easier drifting, so if for some reason you decide to drive through the corners as though they were a normal track, you'll find yourself skidding around without much effort.

That being said, there's still a distinct learning curve to these events. On my first attempt at drifting--which took place in a Toyota Corolla GTS--I found myself overdoing it with the handbreak, resulting in disastrous 180s and occasional confrontations with the wall. But as I continued to plug away at it, I got a better feel for how much to counter-steer and when to best hit the gas during the turn. I was still pretty awful at it, mind you, but I definitely gained a better appreciation for what it takes to really master these events.

Slightly Mad Studios must be confident in players' ability to figure out drifting, because these events haven't been relegated to quick race options; they're right there in the career mode alongside all the other traditional events. Your success in drifting is just as important as any time trial if you want to get the most out of your racing career in Shift. How does that work, exactly? Funny you should ask. The progression of your career as a racer was the other focus of yesterday's demo. All that information will be coming to you next Tuesday, so stay tuned.

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136 comments
sopny
sopny

looks cool !

ballroomwest
ballroomwest

When will they listen?! I've read over 20 posts from different fans all saying they want NFS to get back to the arcade fun filled cop chase/open world mission/story based stuff! NOBODY WANTS REALISTIC BORING SIMULATIONS GOING AROUND ONE TRACK AT A TIME. THEY WANT FUN! I bought PRO-Street played it for 20 mins, never played it again. I won't even consider buying Shift/Nitro for a second, no matter how amazing the graphics might look, it's not all about visuals. NFS-Undercover was good and a welcome return to form, so why don't they just stick to what WORKS and what the fans WANT and just continue to improve it in terms of graphics/tech etc but leaving the formula as is!!

CalThAl_LP
CalThAl_LP

i most liked NFS Most Wanted and NFS Carbon (which were the best in my opinion) i played Pro Street a little and a little Undercover but i didn't like them like MW and CARBON; 4 me NFS Shift was a very big disappointment

dagoebavimeto
dagoebavimeto

Ah-hh today I played this game for the first time and it left an empty void in my soul. The last NFS game I played before this one was Carbon and the difference is like fire vs ice. This game is only suitable to racing simulation fans, for people who don't connect the words "speed" and "brake" it's horrible. Oh and as for the warning after the intro, in Bulgaria where I'm from you can spend about 700$, get a car like this one http://vbox7.com/play:b8bc3cad and have lots of fun for a few years or spend it for one race on the track. Do the math...

myktm
myktm

Right, this is my opinion: Need For Speed Underground 2, Most Wanted and Pro Street I f****n loved. Underground 2 had great modifications and cars Most Wanted was just addictive and Pro Street I loved the realism of the tuning and the sounds of the cars plus the cars u could actually get. Im really looking forward to Need For Speed Shift I think its gona be a brilliant game, so all u mother******* saying EA has gone downhill or whatever I think your wrong, to me there Need For Speed games are getting better and better...

laurens_reinds
laurens_reinds

"Drifting appeared in Need for Speed as recently as 2007's ProStreet" Who wrote this article? Drifting was introduced to the series in Underground, 2003. And, indeed, Hot Pursuit 2 was the best game, and the graphics were great for the time, just outdated now... :( And I really liked Underground 1 and 2 as well, but they really messed up the newer ones. I just hope they didn't mess up this one.

Qv9
Qv9

One racing mode that was really great was Street X in Underground 2. That was something that required true precision and finesse to be mastered. I really want to see it in Shift

Qv9
Qv9

one racing mode that was really great was Street X in underground 2. That was something that required true precision and finesse to be mastered. I really want to see it in Shift

Chrisi24
Chrisi24

i cant wait for this to come out in sept because the new concept of being inside and seeing the interior is out of this world! They have really changed the way you can drive more differently then in past need for speed games.

johnryandaplin
johnryandaplin

@ SoulraKk no, you cant drift in modern warfare 2, but you can shoot russians and presumably terrorists, you get to go to brazil, and teabag your enemies

shoelaces-4-all
shoelaces-4-all

oh and I was talking to speed2fast as well... about the trash thing... thats why I said youse guys. im not tryin to start nothin but your comments seem somewhat nonsensical.

shoelaces-4-all
shoelaces-4-all

@johnryandaplin are you on crack? since when is this game only drifting?! are you insane? they never at any point said that this game is just drifting. you guys have no idea what youre talking about. drifting is a really small part of this game yet they are putting a huge effort into making it realistic. this isnt like NFS Underground drifting, its very realistic and not easy to master. There are many many other aspects to this game than drifting. This is going to be one of the best NFS games in years. This game is going to get at least an 8.5 rating unless it ships buggy but its more likely a 9.0. The racing physics are solid, gameplay is solid, career mode has great depth. This game has the same stuff as other top-teir racers but something unique as well. Knowing so little about the game you guys should really stop making statements like "im not buying this trash". Not that you arent privy to your rights and whatnot, obviously you are but calling this game trash when you clearly have no idea what you are talking about doesnt make sense. oh and I'm buying Modern Warfare 2 as well but what does that have to do with racing games?

SoulraKk
SoulraKk

johnryandaplin... can u drift in modern warfare 2???

speed2fast
speed2fast

prostreet(or should i say poor street?) was given the same graphics and previews, but wat happened? the creaters exagerrated by creating blueprints and instead, they made a disgrace to car racing simulaters

speed2fast
speed2fast

johnryandaplin, i agree with u. ea games gets worse each time. but im only saying that the drifting is gonna be good. im not saying im buying this trash. screw shift! im better off with gt5 or modnation racers. by the way, do u hav a ps3 or 360?

Mr_Manikin52
Mr_Manikin52

I hope that I can be just as good as Rhys Millen.

art_milonakis
art_milonakis

A lot of people doesn't think like me, but I love drift, the NFS ProStreet drift was...disappointing, but when you do it in games like GRID, you actually feel how good it is. There's also the fact that this game is not a drifting game, you won't drift, drift, drift, drift, circuit. So, if you don't like, just don't race it. And, dude, he's Vaughn Gittin Jr., anyone that knows at least a little about drift knows who he is. I know that a big name does not mean a game, but, for reasons I do not know, I think this game will be good.

johnryandaplin
johnryandaplin

speed2fast u suck, realistic drifting, WTF???? everyone knows pro street sucks, and drifting doesn't but would you actually buy a game thats the only content is drifting?? i mean come on, EA games suck so much, the game is shallow as there is nothing to do but, drift drift drift drift drift drift drift drift drift drift drift, screw this game , im buying modern warfare 2

speed2fast
speed2fast

to all the ppl (johnryandaplin) who r posting useless comments about me dont waste time on useless garbage i 2 can say that johnryandaplin is a.......................................

speed2fast
speed2fast

i have a feeling this game is gonna have the realistic drifting

speed2fast
speed2fast

all the previews on this game are great. is the game the same? i cant believe this game and others like forza 3, gran turismo 5, split second, modern warfare 2, unchartered 2, MAG, assasin's creed 2, god of war 3 and much more are releasing in the same period. this is gonna be the best gaming period ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

memitojeremy
memitojeremy

I agree NFS Hot Pursuit 2 was the last great NFS game. If if wasn't because of the outdated graphics (it really shows on 1920x1200 res), I would not be waiting for shift.

Megamanx266
Megamanx266

hmmm.... I'd think Undercover = Most Wanted 2 and Carbon = Underground 3. If you think about it but obviously thats not truely the case. I do like the idea that they've branched the franchise into Arcade and Simulation games... Too bad Nitro is gonna be exclusive to the Wii though. I don't see how they couldn't just keep Nitro and Shift for all 3. Then EA would be the first to put a Racing Sim on the Wii

punkdsk8erdude
punkdsk8erdude

also, you all keep mentioning most wanted 2 and underground 3. was it me, or was NFS truly in it's prime with Hot pursuit 2? that was one of my favorite games ever. and it was classic, simple arcade racing. a bunch of cars to choose from, no customizing, only a certain number of events to race and rerace over and over again, and yet, i played that game for years! i always wanted to replay the races, with different cars and such. Not to mention the levels were beautiful, lush and detailed (for the graphics at the time). I love that game to this day. To me it's a classic. Why can't they make more classics like that? To me, almost every game i ever owned on N64 was a classic. A bunch of games on ps1 were classics. And i mean instant classics, like holy crap this game is amazing and i know i'll be playing it still 10 years later lol. I find, that with xbox ps2 and gcube, not as many instant classics, in fact, few and far between. they just didnt interest me enough to keep going back to em. with 360 and ps3 i dont think its gotten worse, maybe a bit better from the ps2 and xbox days but i still dont think theres anywhere near the level of 'instant classic'-ness(?) as there was back in the day. And I really don't know why....

punkdsk8erdude
punkdsk8erdude

this looks interesting. it's almost like what they tried to do with prostreet, but better. i'm glad they are adding their own NFS twist to the sim genre, and not trying too hard to compete lets say with Forza or GT. Because they're too new to the genre, they wouldn't be able to compete. i plan on buying forza 3, but im also considering buying this because it seems like its going to be a different experience.

IzE-DraGoN
IzE-DraGoN

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

jin-ro
jin-ro

to T C W ,lowe bebop and spike one of the best character ever all crew rulezzz, one of best tv series ever.......peace dude

scmjnke13
scmjnke13

Hopefully they will add more to it

sj_nehama
sj_nehama

am still waiting for a decent NEED FOR SPEED game. this is sim, they are hooking the brand NFS to milk some money out of us. didnt get undercover, not gonna have this one.

T_C_W
T_C_W

i quote the guy from the clip "this is more than a game" well if you say so i do really hope the words are true bcoz if it weren't for NFS CARBON i wouldn't keep coming back

shoelaces-4-all
shoelaces-4-all

@playstation_dad GT5 doesnt have realistic damaging, collision or driver cam with controlable head movement does it? This game is actually looking to simulate the real "racing experience" from the driver's perspective. You should at least try it, could be pleasantly surprised. I've grown tired of Gran Turismo, there's not a lot for innovation of the racing experience from the actual racing perspective. Not mouch of a simulator if its just simulating an empty car being controlled through remote by a guy hovering behind or in front of the bumper of the car...

shoelaces-4-all
shoelaces-4-all

@zxssded dude, they do get it. but theyre looking to appeal to everyone. NFS Shift will appeal to sim racing fans but with a way better edge because of the realistic damage and driver cam. It'll be like simulation but exciting ya know. As well, like I just said, theyre working on a new street racer. The Burnout team, Criterion is working on it. Also, dont forget that they have two other games coming out, NFS World Online and NFS nitro for arcadey fans. I dont think anyone needs to worry about getting a Most Wanted or Underground style racer, theyre working hard on it. i do agree though with one post, the street racing series would be awesome if it had occassional Most Wanted style cop chases, but not too frequently though, that would get in the way of free roaming racin and rippin n shoit.

markothevrbaa
markothevrbaa

I hope it will be better than the last two. Looks ok :)

shoelaces-4-all
shoelaces-4-all

@ALTAIR360 didnt they announce that the Burnout team is working on a new street racing game? yes they did indeed, its in an old news article. sha shaa

maverick_76
maverick_76

Most Wanted was the best game that NFS made, bring that back! Unless this game reeks of coolness I will be disappointed.

m3t9m
m3t9m

man if this game was like pro street i am out of it.

NND1
NND1

The Last Nfs was pure crap and a waste of 60.00 so I will have to demo this game first .....

ALTAIR360
ALTAIR360

im not gonna buy a nfs game untill they anounce underground 3 or most wanted 2.

JP-
JP-

they beter stay arcade cause forza 3 is gonna F*** this game sideways

ohjtbehaaave
ohjtbehaaave

Drift... Smift. All the racing game overkill this feature! We Want Cop Chases!! ....clap clap.... clap clap clap We Want Cop Chases!! ....clap clap.... clap clap clap

Paul20181
Paul20181

Yawn... drifting is fun. When it's not drifting.

scmjnke13
scmjnke13

Interesting to see what else they add

johnryandaplin
johnryandaplin

We want Need For Speed Underground 3 with Most Wanted cop chases. Make yourself heard, copy and paste this above me if you agree.

johnryandaplin
johnryandaplin

spider-venom, kill yourself, PRO street was the worst NFS game eve

spider-venom
spider-venom

I can't wait for this game. It looks better then prologue so far and GRiD was disappointing cos it was way too arcady. PRO Street was great!